The Orphan Boy
As Pertaining To The Orphan Boy.
Larry Eugene Peterson
Written Between His Ages Of 4 And 16 Years.


The following article (the first article) was written of the conditions in The Iowa Training School for Boys, at Eldora, Iowa, (The reform school) durning the period of time Larry Eugene, "The Orphan Boy" was growing up in the Iowa juvenile institutions.


Des Moines Register優es Moines,Iowa
Page One
September 21, 1945
Five Describe Eldora Beating
Ronald Miller
[Ehanced photo of newspaper article.]

Jury Hears Of Beating Death. [of Ronald Miller]
Hear Boys As Inquest Is Started

By Fred Lazell

ELDORA, IA. Five Eldora boys training school inmates Friday described to a Hardin county grand jury how Ronald Miller, 17, Des Moines, was given a total of 47 lashes with a harness tug, was hit with an "Anamosa" stick (long club), and was beaten with a blackjack at the disciplinary cottage the night of Aug. 27.
The boys also described Miller's collapse on a coal pile work detail the next day and his death in the school hospital at 2:00 a.m. Aug. 29.
The Miller boy's death has been described as the immediate cause of the original riot and escape of 179 boys from the school that day. There have been numerous minor breaks since, bringing the total number of runaways to approximately 260, all but 25 or 30 of who have been returned.


Highlights to the sequence of events in the disciplinary cottage as told by the boys were:

1. That seven boys called from Cottage 8 to the disciplinary cottage [No. 6] all were hit on the head with a blackjack as they came out of the door of Cottage 8.  ["Blacljack" is a leather pouch about nine to ten inches long, one end fill with lead shot, the other end with a handle and a strap to go around the holder's wrist.]
2. That the boys were lined up at the disciplinary cottage and Miller was called out and given 17 strokes with a harness tug by Harold Nelson, manager of Cottage 8.

[A "tug" which the witnesses said was used in the beatings, is that part of a horses harness which pulls the weight of the vehicle. Usually it is a strap two to two and a half inches wide and consisting of several thicknesses of leather.]

3. That Nelson then sat on Miller while Carl Klatt, manager of the disciplinary cottage, beat Miller on the head with a blackjack.
4. That Miller got free, picked up a chair and swung it at Klatt, and three boys helped take the chair away from Miller.
5. That Miller got a second chair and that other boys tussled with him and struck him with their fists.
6. That Klatt hit Miller with the "Anamosa" stick.  ["Anamosa Stick" is a section of hoe handle a little over two feet long, drilled out and filled with lead.]
7. That after a lull, H. J. Martin, dean of boys at the school, decided the punishment should go on; that Miller was called out of the line again and told to prepare for another whipping; he refused and Klatt hit him again.
8. That Miller finally was called to the post where boys are whipped and was given 30 more strokes with the tug by Klatt.
9. That Miller and the other six boys, after they "got theirs," were taken upstairs and made to stand by their beds until 3 a.m.
10. That Miller, along with others, went to the coal pile at 8 a.m. and that Miller collapsed just before noon and was taken to the hospital where he died the following morning.


George Clayton, 16, Des Moienes, one of the seven boys, said they were called to the disciplinary cottage because they had been accused of planing a break from the school.
"Each of us, including Miller, got hit on the head with a blackjack as we came out the door." Clayton said.
Clayton was the boy who said Nelson sat on Miller while Klatt hit him with the blackjack. Clayton said Klatt claimed that during the general melee in the cottage that night, Miller had broken one of his ribs and put a bad gash on his knee.
  Clayton admitted he was one of the three boys who tried to help subdue Miller. "I hit him with my fist," Clayton said. "But I didn't hurt him any. I did it for his own good."

Got Theirs.

Clayton also said that after Miller was given his second whipping, "the rest of us got ours"
Bernard Ryan, 17, Mason City, a squad boy assigned to help in Cottage 6, agreed that other boys had given Miller some punches during the general melee.
Ryan said he was the one who took the boys upstairs and compelled them to stand by their beds. He said the boys were dressed in night-gowns when the whippings were administered.


Ryan also testified that on Tuesday morning before Miller went to the coal work detail, "he threw-up his breakfast." Ryan testified the squad boys in the disciplinary cottage are given 150 extra merits and that night squad boys got 900 extra merits.
Bruce Brown, 16, Onawa, another inmate, testified that Darrell T. Brown, assistant superintendent at the school, was also in the disciplinary cottage the night Miller was beaten and that Darrell Brown also hit Miller with a blackjack.


A hearing is to be conducted Monday on the murder charges against Darrell Brown, Martin Klatt and Nelson in connection with the Miller death.

Jack Howell, 17, Eagle Grove, a squad boy on the coal detail the next day, testified that Miller fell down once and told him, "I can't go on with this." He said he told Miller that he (Howell) couldn't do anything about it and he would have to continue working.
Howell said two other boys collapsed but the guards threw water on them, revived them and put them back to work. Howell said Miller finally collapsed just before noon and was carried, unconscious, to Cottage No.6. [Disciplinary cottage]
Robert Zeutlau, 17, Otho, Ia. another squad boy on the coal detail, said Nelson was in charge and Klatt was helping him. Zeutlau said Miller staggered several times during the morning.
Describing the coal pile work, Zeutlau testified that the usual routine was to issue the boys large grain shovels and have them shovel the coal. He testified the coal pile was "just something to do," and added, "We weren't unloading cars or anything like that."

NOTE BY AUTHOR:   Carl Klatt, manager of the disciplinary cottage, searved 90 days in county jail for assault -- The rest?  Nothing.  Well they had to do something to someone, after all they killed a boy, couldn't let them all go free.  Like I have said before, "Who really cares about a bad boy."  When I found that out, it made me so sick I felt like throwing up.  A child in an institution of any age is free game for anything, and it can be very easily covered up.  It is pathedic but true.


Floyd Peterson,
Ames City Employee
Died Early Today

[Father of Larry E. Peterson]

Ames, Jan. 28,--Trench mouth or Vincent's Angina was given as the cause of death of Floyd Peterson, 29, at Mary Greeley hospital at 1:30 A.M. today.
Peterson for over 13 years an employee of the street department of the city of Ames, [Full time employment at the age of 16.] had been ill only since Sunday. [For a couple of months.]
Funeral services will be held Monday at 2:00 P.M. at the Adams Funeral home here and burial will be in the Ames cemetery. The services will be in charge of Rev. Brunn of the United Brethren church.
He leaves his wife who before her marriage was Miss Sylvia Halterman of Ames, [Nevada, Iowa] and three children --one daughter and two sons. The family home was at 109 East avenue. [Now S. Cherry avenue.]

(Reprinted from article that appeared in the Nevada Evening Journal in Nevada, Iowa, on Jan. 28, 1939.)


Mrs. Pearl May Potter
[Adopted mother of Larry E. Peterson]

Mrs. Peal May Potter, 51, 50th and Rusten streets, died late Tuesday afternoon in a hospital here after an extended illness.
A resident of Sioux City 27 years. Mrs. Potter was born May 7, 1892, in Oklahoma.
Surviving are the widower, R. H. Potter, a son, Jessie R. Potter, [adopted name of L. E. Peterson] her father, William Erby of Sioux City and a brother, W. J. Irby of Chicago.
The body was taken to Prasso Bros. funeral home.

(Reprinted from article that appeared in the Sioux City Journal in Sioux City, Iowa, on Sep. 22, 1943.)



Runaway Orphan Lives In Loop Hideout;
Sobs When Sent Back Home


An 11-year old boy who ran away from the Iowa Solders' Orphans' Home, Davenport, two weeks ago and has been sleeping behind a billboard in a vacant lot in downtown Rock Island, was taken into custody by Rock Island police early this morning and was turned over to authorities at the home.
The thin lad who was barefooted and dressed in ragged overalls, sobbed when an officer from the home came to take him back. He told police the life he had been living was "lots better" than what he had at the orphans' home.
The boy said that he earned a little money during the day by doing odd jobs and that he made enough to eat and to go to the show at night.
Each evening he would crawl into his little hideout in the vacant lot behind the old Rock Island Savings bank building. Third avenue and Eighteenth street.
Sometimes he pulled boards over him to help keep the cool wind off him.
The boy was still sobbing when he left the police station in custody of the orphans' home officer, [Vance Guold] although a "coke" purchased for him by Patrolman Marion S. Brown of the Rock Island police department had help make him feel a little better.

(Reprinted from article that appeared in the Rock Island Argus on July 9, 1945.)


Orphans' Home Runaway
Lives 2 Weeks in Foxhole


An 11-year old runaway from the Iowa Solders' Orphans' Home, Davenport, was found by Rock Island police Sunday sleeping in his "foxhole" home behind a billboard near Third avenue and Eighteenth street.
The boy, Larry Peterson, who ran away from the home two weeks ago, told authorities he was "big enough to get along by himself."
He said he did "odd jobs" around Rock Island and at night crawled into his home--a hole hollowed in the ground behind the billboard. When it became chilly he pulled a few boards over the top of the hole.
Ragged and barefoot, the boy was returned to the home for orphans in Davenport.

(Reprinted from article that appeared in the Davenport Democrat on July 9, 1945.)


Boy With Stolen Car
Is Run Down Trying To Escape

Lad From Juvenile Home Ditches
Auto Near Marengo

A 14-year old boy who dashed madly through the streets of Marengo in a stolen auto he was driving at top speed, was mighty lucky Tuesday afternoon when the machine went into the ditch alongside of the road. The lad was Larry Peterson escapee from the state juvenile home at Toledo. He lost control of the car after driving a quarter of a mile south of Highway 6 on the canning plant road.
The boy was not seriously injured and the car did not suffer extensive damage.

Message Over Police Radio

Patrolman Lester Nieland was cruising on Highway 6 east of Ladora when informed over the state police radio of the theft. He met the car two miles west of Marengo, turned around and had almost caught up with the fleeing youngster at the edge of town.
Peterson raced through town on Short street far ahead of the officer without regard for approaching motorist at cross streets. After a wide sweeping turn he shot down Eastern avenue and across Highway 6 just barely in front of two huge simi-trailer outfits. He had gone only 80 rods before going into the ditch.

Unconscious For Time

Apparently dazed for a time Peterson regained consciousness soon after arriving at Watts hospital. He had a gash on the side [back] of his head requiring stitches and a cut on one side of his body. [Also requiring several stitches.]
The car, a 1941 Chevrolet, belonging to William D. Anderson former superintendent of schools at Rolfe, who had moved to Toledo to take over the superintendency there. It didn't upset and a somewhat hurried examination indicated the damage was largely confined to the fenders.
The Anderson car was stolen two miles south of Tama, near where Peterson and other Juvenile home inmates were detasseling hybrid corn. It is believed Anderson was supervising the group of detasselers.

(Reprinted from article that appeared in the Pioneer-Republican of Marengo, Iowa on July 29, 1948.)


Anderson's Car
Stolen At 3 P.M. Recovered By 6

Toledo Superintendent's
Auto Is Taken On Tuesday

M. D. Anderson, Toledo's new school superintendent, will probably never leave his keys in his car again.
About three p. m. Tuesday afternoon while checking detasseling crews for the Dekalb seed corn company, on a farm on the Tama-Powshiek county line two miles west of Highway 63, Anderson pulled into an oat field a considerable distance from the road.
When he returned from checking the crew to the field where he had parked he found his car gone. He returned to the detasselers and found that the water-boy was missing. Anderson and the foreman of the detasseling crew drove to the nearest farm house and called Sheriff John R. Reid. Sheriff Reid put the information that the car had been stolen on the air and shortly thereafter the car was picked up in a ditch east of Marengo. The driver of the stolen car was injured slightly and about $150 damage was done to the car. The car had been driven on 63 to Tama and then east on 30 and 212 to Marengo.
The car and its illegal driver were returned to Toledo about 6:20, a little more than three hours after the theft. The boy who took the car, from the Juvenile Home, will be transferred to the Boy's Training School at Eldora.

(Reprinted from article that appeared in the Toledo Chronicle in Toledo, Iowa, on July 29, 1948)


Haltermans Meet Own Truck
While On Trip In West


The Howard Halterman 1949 Chevrolet pick-up truck, which had been taken out of Nevada Sunday night during the absence of the Haltermans, on vacation, was apprehended by Mr. Halterman himself in Wyoming.
The Haltermans were driving to Cheyenne after leaving Yellowstone Park when they saw the truck approaching. As it passed them they were sure that it was the truck they had left behind in Nevada and took chase. They were unaware that the truck had been taken at Nevada.
It must have been as much a surprise to the driver of the truck to encounter the owner on the western highway.
The Haltermans drove the truck back home but it is considerably the worse for having been taken without leave by Larry Peterson a nephew of Howard. The truck had been sideswiped enroute to the west, Halterman reported.

(Reprinted from article that appeared in the Nevada Evening Journal in Nevada, Iowa, on Aug. 11, 1949.)


Eldora Parolee
In County Jail


Larry Peterson, 15, a parolee from the Iowa Training School is in the county jail having allegedly confessed to breaking into the James Taylor hanger at the Nevada Flying service at 12:30 Sunday night and in attempting to taxi out the airplane, damaged the propeller and the fuselage and the hanger of another plane, in the amount of approximately $300. He taxied the plane to the end of the field but apparently abandoned the idea of flying it off of the ground.
Young Peterson had proved himself as an apt pupil the day before when Bob Nelson, owner of the field, had taken him on a ride to Eldora. Because of his apparent interest in airplanes, Nelson explained as much as he could to the boy.
Peterson was before Judge J. Y. Luke in juvenile court yesterday and further developments are waiting the action of the court.

(Reprinted from article that appeared in the Nevada Evening Journal in Nevada, Iowa, on Aug. 31, 1949.)


Boy Attempts
Unscheduled Plane Flight


A young Nevada boy took a plane ride Saturday and then returned the next day to attempt a solo flight without the permission of the owner.
Larry Peterson, 15, a parolee from the Iowa Training School, is in the Story county jail after allegedly confessing to breaking into the James Taylor hanger at the Nevada Flying service late Sunday night and in attempting to taxi out the airplane.
He taxied the plane to the end of the field, but apparently abandoned the idea of flying it off of the ground. Damages have been estimated at $300.
The day before. Bob Nelson, owner of the field, had taken him for a plane ride to Eldora. Because of his apparent interest in airplanes, Nelson explained how they operate to the boy.
Before Judge J. Y. Luke in juvenile court Tuesday, young Peterson is awaiting the action of the court.

(Reprinted from article that appeared in the Ames Daily Tribune in Ames, Iowa on Sep. 1, 1949.)


Tragic Death
Juanita Fry

[Dixie Lee, sister of Larry E. Peterson]

Mrs. Ed Chance, 630 Fifth street, received word early today of the death of her daughter, Miss Juanita Barbara Fry, of Chicago, in an automobile accident which occurred at Mount Airey, North Carolina, where she had accompanied friends to spend the weekend. She was 20 years of age last May.
  The information, which came from a Mount Airey mortuary, states the girl had been instantly killed, and that no one else had been seriously injured in the accident. The mortician who called told the mother that the body would be shipped to Ryan' Funeral Home in Nevada, and be accompanied by a friend. Juanita, granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Halterman of this city, had telephoned her mother from Chicago Friday of her intended trip to North Carolina and had promised her mother, she would call her on her arrival there. Her father is Virgil Fry of Graettinger. [Iowa]

(Reprinted from article that appeared in the Nevada Evening Journal in Nevada, Iowa, on Aug. 28, 1950.)




A 16-year old youth was in jail Tuesday for investigation of eight traffic violations after a wild forty-two-block chase in a stolen car through south Denver late Monday night, police said.
Patrolman John Meeker and Walter Le Veck identified the boy as Larry Peterson of 242 South Broadway. Slightly injured when the car crashed, the youth was treated at the Denver General hospital for a bruised chest before being jailed.
The officers said they first noticed the youth speeding on South Acoma street. When they attempted to stop the car, it speeded up and they were unable to catch it.
Calling for aid on the radio, the officers chased the youth east on East Louisiana avenue at speeds up to seventy miles an hour and then south on South Steel street to East Mexico avenue where the car went out of control and into a shallow slough.
The car was identified as one stolen earlier in the evening from in front of the Great Western Tire and Supply company at 860 Broadway. The company is listed as owner of the car.

(Reprinted from article that appeared in the Denver Post, in Denver, Colorado, on March. 27, 1951.)




A 16-year old boy driving what police said was a stolen car led two patrolmen on a hair-raising chase through South Denver last night before he cracked up in the city dump at S. Steel St. and E. Mexico Ave.
The police car hit speeds of up to 85 miles per hour in the wild chase, which averaged more than a mile a minute from start to finish.
The auto, a Buick, was stolen from the Great Western Auto Co. 860 Broadway, about 7:30 p.m. Patrolman John Meeker and Walter LeBeck spotted it shortly after 10:00 p.m. near 800 S. Acoma St.
They followed it to W. Iowa Ave. and S. Acoma St. where it ran a stop sign. The policemen moved up and ordered the driver to the curb.
Instead, the Buick roared off, screeched around a corner and started east on W. Louisiana Ave.
It then sped across town.
The chase came to an abrupt end when the boy turned at S. Steel into a dead end street. The car plunged into a dump. It was wrecked.
The youth was treated at Denver General Hospital for bruises and then taken to City Jail.
The youth faces eight traffic charges--careless driving, reckless driving, running stop signs, running a red light, making an illegal turn, driving on the wrong side of the street, failing to heed a police siren and driving without a license.
He was also booked for investigation of auto theft.

(Reprinted from article that appeared in the Rocky Mountain News, in Denver, Colorado, on March. 27, 1951.)


Auto Thief, 16,
Accused Of Reverse Burglary


A 16-year old boy who led Denver policemen on an 85 mile per hour chase in a stolen car early this week is about to lead lawyers on a courtroom steeplechase. Charges filed against Larry E. Peterson, 16, of Iowa, in West Side Court yesterday by Deputy District Attorney Ellett N. Shepherd poses a neat problem--can burglary be committed by breaking out of a place as well as breaking in?
If it is possible, Peterson did it, according to the information filed yesterday, and on the strength of which he is in County Jail awaiting trial.

Car Parked On Roof

Peterson last Monday morning dropped in at Great Western Tire & Supply Co. 860 Broadway, ostensibly to buy a used car. He inspected the cars parked on top of the roof of the two-story building, then left-without having made a purchase, but after choosing the car he wanted to pick up later on.
He came back to pick it up at night, after the office was closed. He shinnied up a convenient telephone pole onto the roof of an adjoining build, jumped 10 feet to the roof where the used cars were parked with keys in the ignition, and stepped into the chosen car.
To get it off of the roof he had to drive down a ramp. But the door to the ramp was locked預 fact which posed the knotty legal situation. He broke a pane of glass, unlocked the door, and drove down the ramp.

Police Pursue Him

Policemen soon thereafter spotted him, thought he looked suspicious, and ordered him to stop. Instead he stepped on the gas and led an 85-mile per hour chase from W. Iowa Ave. and S. Acoma St. to the city dump at E. Mexico Ave. and S. Steel St., where he cracked up the stolen car.
He was treated for minor injuries then transferred to jail-a not novel experience, since he was on parole from an Iowa institution when he decided a few weeks ago to come West.
According to Mr. Shepherd, Peterson breaking down the door to escape with the stolen car was not burglary under the Colorado statute, which defines it as breaking into a place with intent to commit a felony-not breaking out of a place to commit a felony.

Common Law May Decide

But, he said, there's some precedent in very old English cases for the theory that one can commit common law burglary by breaking out of a place, and Peterson will be tried on that basis.
Whether he is found guilty or not will be more interesting than meaningful. Penalty for burglary is one to 10 years in the penitentiary. So is the penalty for larceny of a motor vehicle, with which Peterson is also charged. [Not hardly for a sixteen year old boy, the reform school for six months but not the penitentiary.]

(Reprinted from article that appeared in the Rocky Mountain News, in Denver, Colorado, on March. 30, 1951.)


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A Boy I Use To Know
Written by Larry Eugene Peterson
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